Inter Faith Week Anti-Bullying Week
As Inter Faith Week comes to an end this weekend, Anti-Bullying Week begins; two nationally significant Weeks with important issues in common.
The aims of Inter Faith Week are to:
- Strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels
- Increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society
- Increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs
People, young and old, of many backgrounds, are holding activities to mark the Week and hundreds of organisations of different kinds are taking part. The majority of activities in 2020 are virtual due to COVID-19. However, many schools are open and enabling pupils to learn about the importance of faith and belief in the lives of many and the importance of listening and responding to others respectfully.
Inter Faith Week is a programme of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, which has worked since 1987 to promote inter faith understanding and cooperation in the UK. At the heart of the Week is strengthening common bonds, enabling people to share what they have in common and celebrate distinctive aspects of their identity and beliefs - the very things that bullying undermines.
Bullying can range from unwanted aggressive behaviours that fall below the legal threshold for police action to hateful acts that may be classifiable as ‘hate crime’. We know from recent Home Office statistics1 that between 2017/18 and 2018/19 hate crime rose by 10% and that it has more than doubled since 2012/13.
Children sometimes experience bullying because of their religious identity or beliefs, or even their perceived beliefs2, and the work of Childline and others in this area is important. Last year, we worked with Kidscape (https://www.interfaithweek.org/news/inter-faith-week-and-friendship-friday) to highlight religiously motivated bullying and to share some pointers for parents and carers of primary school children about the importance of faith and belief; encouraging respectful inter faith engagement; and working to prevent faith and belief-linked bullying.
Ignorance and prejudice reflected on social media and other contexts finds its way into the classroom and the playground. It is important that we all work to tackle this. ‘United Against Bullying’ - this year’s Anti-Bullying Week theme - is immensely important and the Inter Faith Network for the UK, its Inter Faith Week programme and other inter faith initiatives are natural allies in this. Good wishes for ABA’s special Week – and for your work year round.
- Hate Crime, England and Wales,2018/19 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/839172/hate-crime-1819-hosb2419.pdf.
- Valk, P, Bertram-Troost, G, Friederici, M., Béraud C. (Editors) (2009). Teenagers’ Perspectives on the Role of Religion in their Lives, Schools and Societies. A European Quantitative Study. Munster, Waxmann. The research was done across a number of nations in the Council of Europe area and showed that pupils from religious backgrounds in non-diverse areas were more likely to hide their religious affiliation than pupils in diverse areas out of fear of bullying.
- Inter Faith Week is a programme of the Inter Faith Network for the UK (IFN), a charity which has been working since 1987 to promote inter faith understanding and cooperation in the UK. The work of IFN is funded by faith communities, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Trusts and other donors.
- If you would like to get in touch with us about Inter Faith Week, please contact the IFN office on Tel: +44 (0)20 7730 0410 or Email email@example.com